XVIII Olympiad

The Olympic Century

Book 16
Warwick Press Inc.
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XVIII Olympiad, the sixteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins in Japan, at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the first Games ever held in Asia. The Tokyo Games were also the first ever broadcast globally by satellite.

The book tells the story of Tokyo heroes like Osamu Watanabe of Japan, who won gold in freestyle wrestling without surrendering a point, and Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won two golds, one silver and two bronze to bring her Olympic medal total to 18. Other highlights of 1964 recounted in the book include the dominant US men’s swim team, which won seven of a possible 10 medals in the pool, and Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia, who matched his performance from Rome four years earlier to become the first person to repeat as Olympic marathon champion.

Later in the book the focus turns to the Winter Olympics and the 1968 Games in Grenoble, France. Broadcast for the first time in colour, the 1968 Games saw East and West Germany compete as separate nations for the first time. The book profiles stars of Grenoble like gold-medal winning figure skater Peggy Fleming, who sparked a surge in interest in skating; the dashing Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy, who took three gold medals in skiing; and an elfin skier from Canada named Nancy Greene who won gold and silver and became an instant icon in her country.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Warwick Press Inc.
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Published on
Nov 18, 2015
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Pages
580
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ISBN
9781987944150
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Olympics & Paralympics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The year 1968 is commonly remembered for the massive social and political upheaval occurring around the world at the time, but it was also the year of the Olympic Games of Mexico City. XIX Olympiad, the seventeenth volume in The American Century series, tells the story of one of the most exciting and controversial Olympics of the modern era.

In addition to being the first Olympics held in Latin America, the Mexico Games were also held at high altitude, a factor that likely contributed to the many record-breaking performances. Among these was Bob Beamon’s incredible gold-medal-winning 8.9-metre long jump, a record that would stand for 23 years, and Al Oerter’s fourth consecutive gold medal in discus, a first for a track athlete. In a reflection of the times, the book tells the story of American sprinters Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze) who created the iconic image of the Mexico Games when they famously raised their gloved fists in a black power salute on the medal podium.

The second part the book focuses on the 1972 Winter Games of Sapporo, Japan. Star athletes of Sapporo are profiled, like Galina Kulakova of the USSR, who won three golds in cross-country skiing, and Ard Schenk of Holland, who matched that feat in speed skating. It also tells the story of three Japanese ski-jumpers who became national heroes after sweeping the 70-metre event.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The Summer Olympics of Munich 1972 were called “The Cheerful Games”, but that was before the spectre of terrorism marked them forever in the history of sport. XX Olympiad, the eighteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, recalls the tragic events in Munich, along with the many moments of triumph. The book recounts the 18-hour standoff between police and eight Palestinian terrorists who took 11 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage in the Olympic Village. All the hostages and three terrorists would die during the ordeal. The Games resumed after 24 hours, and the heroes of Munich emerged: American swimmer Mark Spitz, who would claim a then-record seven gold medals; Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut, who charmed the world in winning three golds; and a 15-year-old Australian named Shane Gould, who challenged Spitz in the pool with three gold-medal performances. The book also recounts the curious story of marathon winner Frank Shorter entering the stadium running behind an imposter who had joined the race in the final stages. The book then turns its focus to the 1976 Winter Games of Innsbruck, Austria. The book profiles athletes like Austrian favourite Franz Klammer, who won the downhill with a heart-stopping final run; US figure skater Dorothy Hamill, who won gold and sparked a worldwide trend in hairstyles; and West German skier Rosi Mittermaier, who missed out on winning three golds by just 0.13 seconds. Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.
XXI Olympiad, the nineteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal Canada. In the wake of the terrorist tragedy that marred the Munich Olympics four years earlier, Montreal is remembered for the athletic performances of the athletes.

Despite a boycott staged by several African nations to protest the policy of apartheid in South Africa, the Montreal Games produced a bevy of international stars. The book profiles memorable athletes like 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci of Romania, who posted an unprecedented seven perfect-10 scores in winning gymnastic gold; and Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto, who performed his final event with a broken knee to help the Japanese team win team gold. Other notable participants in Montreal included decathlon winner Bruce Jenner; Princess Anne of Great Britain, who competed in equestrian events; and racewalker Alex Oakley of Canada, who became the oldest-ever Olympic track competitor at age 50.

The second part of the book focuses on the Winter Olympics of 1980, held in Lake Placid, N.Y. It tells the story of the “Miracle on Ice”, the gold medal victory of the amateur US hockey team over the mighty Soviets, ending a run of hockey golds for the USSR extending back to 1960. Other athletes profiled include American speed skater Eric Heiden, who remains the only athlete to win five gold medals at one Winter Olympics, and skier Hanni Wenzel, who claimed the only two gold medals ever for tiny Liechtenstein.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

XV Olympiad, the thirteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of 1952 Summer Olympic Games of Helsinki, Finland. The Helsinki Games were the first for the Peoples’ Republic of China, Israel and the USSR, and set a record for most world records broken at a single Olympics that would stand until 2008.

The book profiles heroes of Helsinki like Bob Mathias of the U.S., who defended his decathlon title from the 1948 London Games; the distance runner Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, who claimed three golds including the marathon; and Josy Barthel, who became the first and only gold medal winner from Luxembourg with his triumph in the 1500 metres. In team sports, the legendary “Magic Magyars” of Hungary claimed gold in soccer.

The second part of the book focuses on the Winter Olympics of 1956, held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, which boasted the most events ever held at a Winter Games. With televisions now common in homes in most advanced countries, Cortina d’Ampezzo was also the first Olympics viewed by a wide global audience, boosting the popularity of the Games to a new level. Heroes of Cortina like the Austrian skier Toni Sailer, who swept all three alpine events, became household names, and the world got its first glimpse of the mighty Soviet hockey team, which went on to win five of the next six Olympic gold medals.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The III Olympiad, the fourth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the first Olympic Games held outside Europe – the St. Louis Games of 1904.

The St. Louis Games are set against the backdrop of a much larger concurrent event, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, which featured displays and demonstrations of art, culture and technology from around the world. Despite this distraction, the St. Louis Games still produced its share of memorable Olympic champions. There is the story of the gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals in one day in spite of his wooden leg; the sprinter Archie Hahn, who won three golds and set a record in the 200 metres that would stand for 28 years; and two Tswana tribesmen, in St. Louis for the Exposition, who competed in the marathon and thus became the first black African Olympians.

The focus then turns to Athens 1906, also known as the Intercalated Games, which were held only once. The book tells the story of the American Ray Ewry, who added two golds in Athens to extend his Olympic total to eight from three Games; Billy Sherring of Canada, the unlikely winner of the marathon, who raised the money to travel to Greece at the horse races; and Peter O’Connor of Ireland, who won gold and silver competing reluctantly for Great Britain, then scaled the stadium flagpole to hoist the Irish flag.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

The 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, were unique in several respects: they were the first Games held outside Europe or North America, as well as the first held in the southern hemisphere. The XVI Olympiad, the fourteenth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the story of Melbourne 1956, known as “The Friendly Games”.

The book profiles the heroes of Melbourne, like the 18-year-old Australian sprinter Betty Cuthbert, the “Golden Girl,” who claimed gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay; and the American Bobby Morrow who mirrored Cuthbert’s achievements on the men’s side. There were also unlikely winners, like Ronnie Delany of Ireland, who held off the powerful Americans to claim gold in the 1500 metres. The book also explores how Cold War tensions surfaced in Melbourne in disputes over officiating, and most violently in water polo, where Hungary and Russia engaged in what became known as the “Blood in the Water Match.”

Following Melbourne, the book turns its focus to Squaw Valley, California, and the Winter Games of 1960. Squaw Valley saw the Olympic debut of the biathlon and women’s speed skating, along with technological innovations like artificial ice surfaces, instant replay and results tabulated by computer. The book also recounts the story of the plucky American ice hockey team, made up of college players, which defeated the experienced Canadians and dominant Russians to claim gold.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

XXVI Olympiad, the twenty-fourth volume in The Olympic Century series, begins with the celebration of the centenary of the modern Olympic movement at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Atlanta played host to a then-record 197 nations, many of which did not exist when the modern Olympics began in 1896.

The Atlanta Games were an Olympics of firsts: they were the first Summer Games since 1920 that were not celebrated in the same year as the Winter Games, and 14 nations would win their first-ever Olympic medal in Atlanta. The book profiles heroes of the Games like sprinter Deon Hemming, who won the first ever gold medal for Jamaica, and the US women’s soccer team, which claimed gold in the first Olympic tournament for women in that sport. Other athletes profiled include Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey, who won the dramatic 100-metre final in a world record time of 9.84 seconds, then went on to add another gold in the 4x100 relay. The book also recounts the tragic bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta during the Games that killed two people and injured 111 others.

Following Atlanta, the book explores the 1998 Winter Games of Nagano, Japan. It profiles stars like 15-year-old American figure skater Tara Lipinski, who became the youngest ever Winter Olympic champion in an individual event, and Norwegian cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie, who won three golds to take his personal total to eight from three Games.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, hoped to cement the future of the Games with a triumphant celebration of the second Olympiad in his native Paris in 1900. The II Olympiad-Paris 1900, the third volume in The Olympic Century series, tells the story of a fledgling movement caught up in the whirlwind of the greatest city of the age at the height of the Belle Epoch.

The backdrop for the book is the decadent Paris of the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergeres, the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Gauguin, and the revolutionary “Metro” with its now iconic Art Nouveau architecture. The Games would be contested over five months and subsumed into the 1900 Exposition Universelle, a concurrent celebration of art, culture and technology. Alongside typical events like athletics, gymnastics and swimming, The II Olympiad explores unlikely events like auto racing, ballooning and croquet that characterized the Paris Games.

In the wake of the confusion of Paris, the focus of the book shifts to the war for control that would threaten the very survival of the Games. But while the fate of the Games was in doubt, an enterprising Swedish sportsman named Viktor Gustav Balck created an event that would have long-term implications for the Olympic movement. The book concludes with a detailed look at Balck’s Nordic Games, first staged in Stockholm in 1901, and draws a direct line to the ultimate creation of the Winter Olympics, first celebrated in Chamonix, France in 1924.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee, called The Olympic Century, “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic games ever published”.

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